‘Eloise’ 2017 reminds us why breaking into abandoned mental hospitals is a bad idea

‘Eloise’ 2017 reminds us why breaking into abandoned mental hospitals is a bad idea

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The newest horror offering set in a mental hospital is Eloise. Filmed at the actual location of the same name, Eloise is a decent, but unfortunately not well put together film. Starring Eliza Dushku (who I know best as Faith in the Buffy franchise) and Chace Crawford, I was hoping for a fun romp in an old abandoned building and I did get what I wanted. But that being said, I didn’t get any new horror fun. Eloise gives us all the normal haunted mental hospital tropes: sadistic doctors, unnecessary grisly surgeries, giant security guard like orderlies surrounded in the hallways by sad, shuffling patients and characters getting picked off one by one, impossibly, by the ghosts of the evil hospital.


The synopsis from IMDb is: “Four friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries in a place haunted by dark memories.”


Our lead protagonist Jacob, (played with very little emotion by Chace Crawford) is the guy looking for his aunt’s death certificate so he can get his father’s inheritance. He enlists the help of his BFF Dell, (Brandon T. Jackson) and they find an autistic young man named Scott (P.J. Byrne) who is obsessed by Eloise and has info on how to sneak in. Scott’s sister Pia (Eliza Dushku) comes along to watch out for him, which she doesn’t really do a great job of. Poor Scott has a bad time in the place he loves so much.

Directed by Rob Legato, Eloise looks really beautiful. Utilizing the amazing location to make it feel like the building actually comes to evil life, was a success. The location is authentic, the history shared onscreen during the opening is partly real, but there is no record of Eloise being a place of patient torture.  Eloise was a 900 acre Michigan psychiatric asylum, tuberculosis sanitarium and county hospital for nearly 150 years. It was comprised of 78 buildings, only four of which remain today, and was once home to over 10,000 people. Originally a poor house and farm, Eloise was once a self-sustained community and even had its own post office. A lot of people really died on this site in history (mostly from tuberculosis) and the remaining cemetery is said to really be haunted, even if the buildings aren’t. (Although there are rumors of ghostly visions in one building) Eloise makes a perfect background for a horror film. (I hear it’s for sale now too!)

The sepia-toned flashbacks tell us the back story and how all the characters are tied together. I did enjoy that when it went to sepia-tone, our group could now interact with the past, and not in a warm fuzzy way. The scene in the ballroom where all they are suddenly in the past watching the hospital staff and patients at a weird, creepy swing dance party, was a great moment in the film.

My favorite character was Dr. Brice, played menacingly by Robert Patrick, who used very radical and sadistic ways to help patients get over fears or phobias. This meant being completely immersed in whatever scares you the most. Rats, bugs, snakes or in Pia’s case needles. (Spoiler alert- If you don’t like needles, you will not like that scene!)


Eloise is a familiar story of a group of young people, breaking into a place they shouldn’t and the evil inside said place doing bad things to them. Their little adventure goes bad fast. My biggest complaint was all the running around, and crashing into and through things, in the dark. How did they ever find each other again? I did like the original twist at the end, though, which made it more than ironic that these actual people were the ones to break in- or did Eloise itself, lure them there?


The Real Eloise Hospital


All in all, Eloise was a fun horror movie, but not one that will be a classic or even remembered very well. It’s worth a watch if you run across it though. So, face your fears, and enjoy.

Eloise is available to watch on VOD

Los Angeles Zombie Girl
Starting when she saw "Night of the Living Dead" for the first time, Los Angeles Zombie Girl, Vicki Woods was hooked on Horror. Her company “Scattered Brains” offers SFX makeup and other fun horror items like Zombie Barbies. Full of useless information and the desire to tell stories, Vicki hopes you enjoy her thoughts. You can email her at zombies.vicki@aol.com

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